How to Choose the Right Vet Technician Degree Program Near Clanton Alabama
Achieving your long term dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Clanton AL may initially feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you must find and enroll in a program that will deliver the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you approach evaluating and contrasting programs so that you can make the correct choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their homes. Once they have identified some nearby schools, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when assessing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated also. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician schools you are evaluating before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different responsibilities of vet techs and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the main determiner will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Clanton AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and generally acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complex duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Clanton AL labs or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An approach that may be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are provided over the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Clanton AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for instance for commuting and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Clanton AL area and across the United States, you need to ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already touched on other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to choose a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous review process that ensures you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Clanton AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, phone some Clanton AL veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with Clanton AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate might indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Clanton AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Clanton AL schools you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Clanton AL home, you have to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do choose to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you ascertain if the vet colleges you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Clanton AL. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are available before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family issues. You might find that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Clanton Vet Technologist College
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech college is an important first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for animals. Future students thinking about vet tech colleges need to make their selection based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the ideal school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Clanton Alabama.